One of the most frequent suggestions I receive is that we all celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation with even greater attention and solemnity, because it teaches us so much about the sanctity of life from its very first moments. As we approach this Feast, celebrated this year on Monday, March 26, we can consider several ways in which its observance illumines the pro-life message.
1. 'The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates "the fullness of time," the time of the fulfillment of God's promises and preparations. Mary was invited to conceive him in whom the "whole fullness of deity" would dwell "bodily"' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 484).
This solemnity marks the moment when God Himself began redeeming the unborn child -- and all of us who once were unborn children -- by becoming one Himself. Never can the unborn be considered too small to be significant or to possess rights, for God Himself was that small.
2. "The one who accepted "Life" in the name of all and for the sake of all was Mary, the Virgin Mother; she is thus most closely and personally associated with the Gospel of life. Mary's consent at the Annunciation and her motherhood stand at the very beginning of the mystery of life which Christ came to bestow on humanity (cf. Jn 10:10). Through her acceptance and loving care for the life of the Incarnate Word, human life has been rescued from condemnation to final and eternal death" (Evangelium Vitae, 102).
The Annunciation ushers in the kingdom of life in which we find ultimate victory over the forces of death in ourselves and in our world.
3. "The "yes" spoken on the day of the Annunciation reaches full maturity on the day of the Cross, when the time comes for Mary to receive and beget as her children all those who become disciples" (Evangelium Vitae, 103).
This feast teaches us the fruitfulness of self-giving. Mary says "yes" to something that is difficult, and continues that "yes" even when the embrace of suffering is extreme. This is precisely the opposite of the behavior which avoids responsibility -- a behavior which finds its culmination in abortion.
4. "The angel's Annunciation to Mary is framed by these reassuring words: "Do not be afraid, Mary" and "with God nothing will be impossible" (Lk 1:30, 37). The whole of the Virgin Mother's life is in fact pervaded by the certainty that God is near to her and that he accompanies her with his providential care." (Evangelium Vitae, 105).
What happened at the Annunciation overcomes the fear and despair that lead to violence. It has been said that the false god transforms suffering into violence, while the true God transforms violence into suffering. Mary, in her "yes," gives courage to all mothers who know that being a mother will involve some suffering. She assures them that they are not alone. The Christian community, following Mary's example, accompany these mothers with their prayers and their active charity, providing alternatives to abortion.